The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter their bye week on a sad note, having lost 48-17 to the Baltimore Ravens to fall to 1-5 on the season. This is hardly the start the Bucs were hoping for, as they've fallen just short in winnable games, and been blown out twice after a free agent spending spree this offseason.
So who is to blame for the latest letdown? And who played well despite the unfortunate scoreline? Here's this week's edition of Three Up, Three Down.
Leonard Johnson - Getting beaten for a jump ball against a 5'9" slot receiver is enough to earn a spot on three down, regardless of how the rest of the game went. But for Johnson, Sunday was just another example of a player who seems to be forced into a role where he's not comfortable.
Lovie Smith has praised Johnson in the past, but he just doesn't seem to be playing well in his role in the slot despite having some positive moments in Greg Schiano's defense as a wide corner last season. Getting beat on a jump ball touchdown is just one of many letdowns for LJ, who was one of my personal favorites on the team, but who continues to get caught out in big moments.
Anthony Collins - Once again, Anthony Collins failed to block the same pass rushers he faced during his time in the AFC North, and it was a big part of the total collapse on offense for the Bucs.
Collins simply didn't allow sacks and pressures early on in his career, but now that he's starting for the Bucs, he's playing at a lower level than ever, being asked to block longer than he was in Cincinnati, and for a less mobile quarterback. His skills simply aren't translating from his part-time role for the Bengals into a full-time role with the Bucs, and his performance against Baltimore was more proof of his stumbles this season.
Mason Foster - Dane Fletcher was returned to the bench, but you could hardly tell, as Mason Foster and the linebackers were often caught missing their assignments in the run and pass game on Sunday against Baltimore.
Foster has always been suspect in pass coverage, but it was his run stopping that was also questionable in the blowout loss. Lavonte David and Danny Lansanah had their moments of struggles, too, but Foster's return to the lineup should have helped fix the issues the Bucs had been having, but instead they continued to allow chunk plays over and over.
Louis Murphy - Mike Evans was back, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins was one week healthier, but that didn't stop Louis Murphy from playing hard into the fourth quarter and proving that the Bucs were wrong for letting him go after the preseason with a team-leading seven catches and a score on Sunday.
Murphy continues to get open and look to run after the catch, something that the Bucs need across from Vincent Jackson (who is often well-covered by defenses). Mike Evans will be that kind of player eventually, but it's Murphy's veteran presence that gives him a strong chemistry with Glennon, one that the Bucs will continue to exploit as the season goes one.
Clinton McDonald - On a day where the defense could do nothing right, free agent addition Clinton McDonald made multiple plays in the backfield and tried as hard as he could to be a difference maker on a team destined for a blowout. McDonald has not been consistent this season, but he has shown what he's capable of on occasion, getting into the backfield and getting after running backs as well.
He and Gerald McCoy can certainly work well together, especially as McCoy attracts more and more attention from defenses. The more often McDonald succeeds, the better the Bucs will be along the front four, because teams won't be able to cheat to McCoy's side as often.
Second half Mike Glennon - Mike Glennon was a part of the problem in the first half, but in the second half, he was a part of the solution. The second-year quarterback settled into a groove once the Ravens got on their heels, and did his best to show why the coaches should continue to trust him over Josh McCown.
Glennon's struggles under pressure have been often discussed, but when he's given time in the pocket, he can be a very effective field general for an offense. The second half of Sunday's game showed that, and he'll look to build on that performance (assuming he's given another shot after the Bucs' bye week).